Elephant Cave Temple (Goa Gajah temple)
Elephant Cave temple (Goa Gajah temple) is situated in calm village called Bedulu, Goa Gajah or the Elephant Cave is about 26 kilometers from Denpasar city. The entire place is soothing, surrounded by the beautiful terrace rice fields and Petanu river valley panorama. As one of the enchanting historical sites, Goa Gajah attracts more visitor both local and international coming for sightseeing, worship, or contemplation.
Date : 1019 – 1042 (an approximation) the cave was discavered by the Departement of Archeologi in 1923, and the complex of water spouts was discovered by Objects :
(a) A double hermitage of Budhists and Hinduists.
(b) The Remnants af Buddhism: the image, Bodisatwa, and stupas
(c) The Remnants of Hinduism: The image of Ganeca, Trilingga and water spouts.
Explanation: The cave is shaped in a “T” latter, facing a complex of water spouts. The foot of the “T” letter is Entrance leading to the inner part of cave. Along the inside wall of the cave are fifteen niches excavated on it. The niches were formerly used for sleeping and as meditation places by the monks.
The two niches at the both edges of the cave are provided with the image of Ganeca and Trilinggas. Each linggas is surrounded by smaller linggas. On the Right side wall of the gateway are the carved the words “Kuman Shah (Y) Wangsa” which probably mean “Please, come in Holy man”.
The outer wall, above the entrance, which is carved in relief’s, represents the life in the Jungle:
leaves, Animals, and A demon. Among the relief’s is the head of Boma, the guard watcher of the hermitage, with is hand stretched out. The destroyer image of Shiva-Kala is venerated in the middle of cave. The image of heriti with eight children is revered on a bamboo erection at the left hand side of the entrance. The stupas are situated at both sides of gateway.
The cave is situated at the bank of steep river Petanu.
A little distance across this river is a stupa. Here are reliefs of a niche divided in three part, each supporting the Stupa. At the right hand side of this niche is the other relief of a stupa which has series of umbrellas. In 1954 Dr. Krijgsman, a Dutch archaeologist managed to discover the complex of water spouts, right at the very front of the cave, a little below of it. He restored the six water spouts, and other, bigger part of this hermitage is being investigated.
The Source of Knowledge.
Epigraph: the style of the characters sculptured in the right hand side of the entrance is the same style as the ones in Kediri (East Java), the kingdom of Cri Djoyoboyo, at the beginning of eleventh century.
The statues of the water spouts which are situate in the bathing place (of the Monks) in the front of have the same style as the ones found at the Royal Candi of King Airlangga at Belahan (East Java) Airlangga ruled Daha (Kediri) in 1019 – 1042 AD.
The inscription kept in the temple of Tengkulak (Bedahulu) mentions the hermitage Lwa Gajah near Bedahulu in 1011 AD.
Politics : Cri Udayana (Dharmodayana Warmadewa) the father of Airlangga, ruled over Bali in 989 – 1022 AD.
The Babad : (Local History) The Book “Negara Kertagama” written by Prapanca (1365 AD) which is kept in the temple of Cakranegara (Lombok) mention the name Air Gajah, the hermitage of Budhists near the village of Bedahulu.
Religion : The Hindu Balinese do not use any statues in worshipping God and His manifestation, because they are not perfect Adherences of certain sects as the ones in Hindustan. Ganeca is one Of Shivaistic Gods. Shivaism came to Bali after Buddhism. Buddhist monks used to lived in caves They do not used Ganeca as well as linggas as their medium of worship.
Conclusion: The image of Ganeca and Trilinggas had to be taken from an other place. There must have been special hermitage the Hindu Monks. The Image had been brought into the cave after the two religion fused themselves in to the recent Balinese Unique Hindu Religion which does not have any sects in it.
The name Goa Gajah is derived from word Lwa Gajah, the former name of the river near the cave, the recent name being the Petanu. Based on all of above mentioned, we come to the conclusion that cave was firstly used by Buddhist monks and was later on used by both monks of Buddhism and Hinduism (Shivaistic) when they had merged into the religion.